On the weekend of November 16 -18, 2007 a SAYF retreat was held at Chapel Hill NC Meetinghouse with a theme of applied spirituality. This is our story:

So another strange, fun and weird retreat. Again no sister here! These past few weeks have been kinda sucky but when I got here it wasn’t so bad, beside the sister thing. This retreat has been great. I loved the fact that we got to wake up at 11 AM, but it would have helped if you had something to wake up from, which means that I got 5 minutes of sleep Friday night. Everything was started a bit late Saturday but it all seemed worth it. The thing we did at the theatre was fun, question for those that brought the branches: Did you start pulling those off trees or were they already off the trees? Because that’s what it seemed like. The Pilgrimage & workshop was my favorite thing this retreat because I got to look at the view of two different religions, one being my own. Wink was fun besides the fact that I got nowhere this time, and fell asleep right afterwards. These past few days have been amazing! Oh by the way my sister Christina (Chrissy) couldn’t come because of her best friends sweet sixteen, so ya, now you know, oh she also misses everyone and says hey!. OK I’m through because I’m tired and have nothing else to write.

            ♣ always,

                 Samantha Tippin

I can’t seem to think of anything nice or positive to say at the moment. I’m tired. This bit of negativity will pass. I’m so jealous, even when I shouldn’t be. I envy my best friends’ wonderful relationships, even though on the inside where I’m unbroken they’re shattered. I envy their ability to express their negative emotions without guilt, even though I know talking and crying don’t always make you feel better. Being around you all, in the place I am most at home, I see all my faults amplified, and I wish I didn’t. I have too much self-control. My last relationship fell apart because I couldn’t make myself comfortable enough with him to “act like a girlfriend should”, whatever that means. And no, he did not say that, I did. Here, I see all these people who are comfortable enough with themselves and others to walk up to people, hug them around the waist, and often lift them up and carry them somewhere. J But then again, this is where I’m most comfortable and most myself. This is the place I can love and be what I am without worrying that at some point people will stop loving me, or avoid me because myself annoys them. So although this community makes me see the worst in myself, I know at the same time it brings out the absolute best in me.

            Love, love, love, Rachel

I am always amazed when I come to sayf because my parents used to do foster kids and I have seen both the worst and in rare moments the best of teens. However here I see mainly the good.

I have enjoyed myself greatly.

See you all in January.

I have mostly enjoyed this retreat. It did feel sometimes like there wasn’t much respect for the community. While Quakers tend to be private about their spiritual lives, we come together as a community, which means that we are here as much for others as for ourselves. In a “do it yourself” world, we are a do it for others” community.

To the nurturers and older SAYFers, people look up to you – it is a power that can be used for evil or for good. I hope you choose good.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in Atlanta. Ceal and Laura send much love.

With love,

            Mark Wutka

Dear sayf,

SAYF was really fun. The first night we just hung out and welcomed people. The second day we had crepes for breakfast and then the day went fast. I went to some workshop on being a CO. A CO is someone who objects to being part of any war. The workshop also informed us how you can prove you’re a CO by documenting. Then we went o a n ice silent walk to the forest place. I helped make tacos for lunch. In the evening we played a fun game of wink. It was time playing and it was a lot of fun to learn. I hope I can come to SAYF again because I’m sure I’d meet more new people, and do more cool stuff.

-    Alex

PS Emma is amazing at massaging people’s back! I mean incredible.

This retreat seemed terribly sophoriphic and somber to me. It seemed like we were all very tired and lazy and sort of stressed out. Though I seem to remember saying similar things at the last November retreat. So I will once again just chalk this up to school being rather hard on us older ones. I know that that statement holds true for me and certainly for Casey. However, that being said, I still had a wonderful time with all of you wonderful people. Seeing Casey again really lifted my spirits. I really wish we had a December retreat but we don’t and so it will be almost two months before I see many of you again.

-     Love,

You pink haired compadre, Philip

I had fun this weekend trying to be a responsible friendly adult presence. I enjoyed teaching others how to knit and the creative worship sharing yesterday.

I am sad thatthis is my last SAYF retreat. AT the end of December, I will move back to the Midwest to explore a couple of job opportunities. I enjoyed meeting all of you and I hope to see you again in the future.


Dis retreat were fun.                 - George Pettis

This was my first retreat since SAYMA and I almost didn’t attend for fear of passing on my cold to all of you. Hopefully you haven’t been contaminated. For the first time in 4 or 5ish years of coming to retreats, I wasn’t at opening circle. This affected the weekend maybe more than I expected, and I often caught myself stepping back and observing the group. I’d like to remind people that tasks get accomplished much more quickly and efficiently and quickly when EVERYONE is helping. Often it seemed as if the same few were always doing the worky stuff.

There is a lot I would like to say, suggestions, observations.....But my mind keeps lingering on the surreal passage of time, with every blink faces of the past blur by and transform into those of the present. I remember being 12 and being painfully shy, admiring the maturity and leadership of the seniors. Now I’m one of the seniors, I’m not sure how it happened. .....But there you have it.

Anyways, there seemed to be a lot of downtime this retreat, which was nice because it allowed for flexibility but I would have enjoyed a deeper exploration of the theme of applied spirituality. The silent walk/creative expression was very playful and showed the spontaneity of the group. However, I want to remind people to beware of donuts (cliques) lest the community become as divided as the world we are retreating from. I’ve written a lot but still haven’t really expressed what I feel...I loved seeing the graduates, and I want to thank Wren for Lead FAPping, her patience, and retreat know-how.

Wow. Long, disorganized entry.

            Lots of love, Molly

What’s the difference between inspiring and amusing?

This was an awesome SAYF. I’m really sleepy so I’m not sure what I want to say. But I had a lot of fun. I really loved yoga. It was so relaxing and when we did the yoga I wasn’t relaxed so it helped a lot.

(Song) You have to sing it!

Cow guts are nasty

They are no fun

and they pretty much

disturb everyone


Cow guts = blah

So lalala

Cow guts are nasty

They are no fun

and they pretty much

disturb everyone.

I feel refreshed from this retreat. I actually got pretty good sleep plus the food was excellent especially the ice cream cake. Thank you Rachel and Alex1 Yoga was challenging but we all survived with looser joints and a clearer mind (for me at least). The walk was meditative and it got very interesting when the sculpture was being built. I learned that Phillip is very enduring.

Sorry if I seemed really slow at first during the settlement game. I kept zoning out when John was explaining the rules but that was a complicated game. It turned out fine though when I got a vintage penny, a dollar and a flat in England.

All in all this retreat was fun minus the weather.


I thought this was a very relaxing and spiritually moving retreat. I really enjoyed the Meeting for Worship with attention to creative sharing. The energy that was expressed and the creativity of this worship was wonderful. I felt like it allowed people who might not have normally felt moved to express themselves, within a context of non-moving sharing to fully participate as well as people who were more content to sit quietly, and so, enhanced the spirit of participation within the community.

I was also personally very moved by the sharing and exchange of our thoughts about spirituality in the workshop on spiritual pilgrimages, and I am proud of the participants who shared their own perspective and beliefs in this context. It reaffirmed for me, the Quaker tradition of standing for your own interpretation of spirituality, rather than the desire or willingness to be led by the beliefs others may promote. We are not sheep. I hope all of us continue to live our lives in as thoughtful and personally directed a manner as expressed by those in that workshop.

I hope to see all of you in January, and that you will have a joyful, loving holiday season.


Oh where I my rad? Conrad that is.... baby, I miss you & haven’t skeeted in so long. I definitely assumed you would come to this retreat even though you said you had doubts. But you DIDN’T! YOU WEREN’T HERE AND YOU DON’T EVEN CARE THAT I CAME ALL THE WAY FROM NASHVILLE FOR YOU! I feel better now.I might just return your calls & actually write about the retreat now.

Lydia is a winking maniac brah. I am surprised I could even take her. And it was nice to have wink back in a full circle again. Molly, it was so lovely to see you; it has been entirely too long. Kind of like how long it is taking me to find coherency. I don’t think it will happen, so I will just say: Thank you planning committee, Wren, and Chapel Hill Early School. Shout out to kewl noobies I didn’t know like Madeline and Lilly. You are all gorgeous & wonderful & essential parts of my life.

                                    ♣ Bonnie

On Saturday I participated in the Pilgrimage workshop, remembering the spiritual enrichment I found in my many walkabouts and rock climbing hikes through the deserts of Southern Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

Our workshop leader, however, had envisioned a less reflective and more ritualized journey, one steeped in the dogma and symbolism of traditional “Christian” religions. To his great credit, our guide was very patient and flexible in addressing the concerns about his activity plans that were raised by several Friends in the group. In true Quaker fashion we reached congenial consensus on our adjusted road week for our pilgrimage, one that respected the needs and beliefs of everyone in our little community of travelers. The resulting journey still involved ritual prayers, though most were translated (improvisationally) to reflect a more Quakerly language and message. The exercise was an educational experience for our guide... but for me it was a reminder of why these obsessions with dogma, preaching and ritual tragic obstruction to finding ones inner light and spirituality. I could not help but laugh aloud when one prayer passage raised the “threat” of “mortal sin” that was used to terrorize children into submission at the catholic schools of my childhood.

Still, I found myself strangely and spiritually moved by a prayer of call and response at the destination of our pilgrimage. The prayer was a litany that gave name to many of the world’s oppressed groups and people. To each of these we responded with a Quakerly version of the original chant, one which resonates with me very deeply”

“May we hold them in the light”.

             Aaron Ruschetta (Elaine’s Dad)

Strung out

Drug {love} induced sleep

Eyes slide closed

And enjoy the closings

The simple pleasure

Of friendly arms around you

Eyes open

Muscles stretching

And still I slip in and out

Of consciousness

This is a time

Of simple pleasure

Soft hair combed by fingers

The weight of a sleeping body

In your lap




And not so simple pleasures

The indescribable


Some call it spirituality

I just call it love 

                                    - Solitaire